(Note: Scroll down to the bottom of this post for new cake shots from readers! They continue to be amazing)
I’ve been depressed for the last two days. The kind of depressed where Bear is like, “What’s wrong?” and I’m like “Nothing.” Because everything feels wrong, even the tiniest, most stupidly meaningless things, and it would be impossible to describe and I don’t understand anything and “nothing” is the only word I can even remember how to say.
“But seriously, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” My mind is a black hole. It’s amazing, really, that this word has surfaced from the depths. Good job, mind. Someone should give me a prize. Someone should put me back in front of the TV so I can watch yet another episode of Terra Nova and continue to wonder vaguely why everyone in the future is white. Except for the evil tribal leader who lives out in the jungle. She’s black.
I was going out last night. I had a thing at 7:00. So I decided to get serious. To stare the black hole in its black hole face. I went out and bought some red lipstain. Yeah. I did.
So now you know that I didn’t have any before. I had red lipstick, but that always ends up on my teeth.
It cost nine dollars. Isn’t that a lot? I always think that makeup is way more expensive than it should be.
I felt like I looked stupid buying it. I was depressed. I was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt that had something to do with football that I’d stolen from my dad. My dad is a very broad, muscular man. I am not. I felt like the woman behind the counter was judging me. She might have been thinking, “Seriously, honey? Good luck with that…”
The lipstain was impossible to open. I wrestled with it. I swore. I beat it against the counter. I informed the air around me that the world was messed up. A really messed up place in which nothing ever worked out the way it should. I took the lipstain to the kitchen and introduced it to a knife. I worked in silence for a while, concentrating hard, running late. And then I cut the wrong end of it and this wet, red plug fell out and bounced, splattering lipstain on the floor. Am I the only woman who can’t ever open cosmetics? I can’t do it. I am physically incapable of it. I have some kind of disorder. I stuck the plug back in. I hacked at the other end with my knife. I hated everything.
I have a long history with red lipstuff. Mostly lipstick. I have a long history of wishing it looked good on me. Of feeling like I don’t deserve it. Of not wearing it for years and then, one day, just slapping some on and grabbing life by the balls. Or, rather, carefully, carefully applying some, blotting it, wondering why my lips are so bad at lipstick, applying another layer, getting some on my sleeve when I automatically touch my face with said sleeve, going out the door, getting some on my scarf, trying to surreptitiously check and see if it’s on my teeth in the subway by angling my little mirror up from inside my purse, and then worrying about it for the entire day.
Unlike Bear, and other people, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. At least when it comes to emotions and lipstick. I usually don’t wear any. At all. And then I suddenly want to go red. Bright red. Deep red. The reddest red.
Sometimes I want to do it because I’m confident. Sometimes I want to do it because I’m depressed. Because I want the red to snap me out of it. I want to be bold, instead of dull.
I know, it’s silly.
I put the lipstain on. By now it was also on my boot, the sink (I’d opened the wrong end again, in the bathroom), and one of the cat’s paws (her fault). I looked in the mirror. I looked like I was pretending. Hardcore. Like I was a total fake. Like I didn’t deserve that lipstain at all. Like only sexy, glamorous women with extremely long, elegantly tapering legs and hair that looked the right kind of mussed could wear that color. Like I was trespassing. Like I was just about the lamest person in the world.
But it’d been two days of feeling like my life was the stupidest thing that had ever happened to the universe, and I was done. I was going to wear the lipstain. Also, I didn’t know how to get it off. How do you do that?
I went out. I checked in the subway, in case there was some on my teeth. There wasn’t.
I was unattractive and bold and ridiculous and I was going to get over it.
This morning, I woke up, and I looked great. In boxers and a floral print tank top, with my mouth stained red with unknown chemicals, I looked exactly right.
The darkness had lifted. I ate my oatmeal in peace. I felt for a moment that maybe, maybe I’d amount to something. My mind had climbed up out of the black hole, and it occurred to me that a lot of things will happen that I can’t predict, and many of them will be good.
But here’s a lesson: If you think you look really bad in red lipstain, then maybe just give yourself a day or two. Sometimes it’s just your mind, refusing to believe.
(the photos in this post are a small sampling of the many, many shots I have of myself in red lipstick over the years. Putting it on makes me want to take pictures. And then photoshop them.)
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Unroast: Today I like the way I look the morning after.
New cake shots for the gallery! Here they are! And guys, let me know if you want your names on them– right now I’m just keeping it anonymous, but I’m happy to label them if you prefer. And everyone– send me more! Always!
This one is desserty enough that I think it counts:
And this shot is from a male reader (lots of guys secretly read ETDC– fancy that). Since I see his shirt in it, I’m including it, too. The rules are a little lax around here:
P.S. ETDC readers are being offered a 40% discount on a book that involves cake! It’s called Tea and Cake London and it’s from Black Dog Publishing. Here’s the description: Tea & Cake London is a comprehensive guide to the best places to enjoy tea and cake across the British capital. Charming, knowledgeable and often surprising, this lovely book roots out more than 70 cafes, bakeries and tearooms worth discovering, from iconic establishments to modern classics and undiscovered gems. Whether you are looking for a traditional afternoon tea, a casual cafe in which to gossip over a brew, a bakery selling elite buttery treats, vegan delights or an oddball tearoom with a twist, Tea & Cake London has the answer.
So if you live in London or are going there, there you go! To order a copy, email Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org with your delivery address and quote ‘Eat the Damn Cake offer’ as the subject heading. The book will then be sent with an invoice.
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